ASTM Inks Agreement with Chinese Standards Body

Signing is the latest step in the organization’s involvement in China.  

Ben Van Houten
Senior Editor


As part of its increasing involvement in Chinese standardization, ASTM International (West Conshohocken, PA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the national standards body of China.

Senior officials from ASTM International and the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) signed the MOU on August 20 in Beijing. The agreement will reportedly enhance the ability of SAC and ASTM International to support the needs of the Chinese people and aid in the development of Chinese national standards for health, safety, and the environment.

“With China’s trade topping $400 billion for both imports and exports in 2003, standards are of the utmost importance,” says ASTM president James A. Thomas. “The signing of this MOU with the SAC is a great step forward to encouraging greater access to ASTM standards in China as well as a bigger voice by Chinese experts in the content of ASTM standards.”

The MOU, also signed by SAC vice administrator Zhang Yanhua, is designed to strengthen the relationship between the two standards organizations. As part of the agreement, both groups agreed to explore cooperation opportunities for standards development in areas of mutual interest. In addition, ASTM agreed to:

• Provide the full collection of ASTM standards to SAC.
• Jointly sponsor standards and training technical committees.
• Provide participating membership to representatives of SAC on ASTM technical committees.
• Provide internship programs for SAC experts to come to ASTM International headquarters for extended study of the ASTM International standards development process.

SAC, meanwhile, agreed to:

• Promote the acceptance and use of ASTM standards in China.
• Utilize the resources of ASTM International to develop Chinese National Standards and reference ASTM standards where applicable in Chinese National standards.
• Provide access to current ASTM standards including a link to ASTM International’s Web site on the SAC home page.
• Facilitate connections between Chinese technical experts and ASTM International technical committees to ensure that the standards meet the needs of Chinese industry.

ASTM International has been involved with China since 1984. Since that time, ASTM has been working to make its standards useful, familiar, and necessary to the Chinese standards community and to the government agencies and businesses for which they work. Its current involvement in the country includes agreements with other standards organizations. These include the Chinese National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) and the Shanghainese version of its magazine, Standardization News, as a joint venture with the China Association for Standardization (CAS). SAC has reported that it currently uses nearly 500 ASTM standards as the basis for its national standards in China.

Aside from the Chinese National Standards and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, ASTM standards are the most commonly used standards in China. According to ASTM statistics, Chinese standards professionals use more ASTM standards than their German, Japanese, or British counterparts.


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